Life is simple. And hard. And well worth it.
Let’s start with the good living part. Start with being grateful for everything. Have a moral compass. Always be personally responsible for everything in your life. Be your brother’s keeper for everyone in your life. Love. Nothing else matters without that.
Now let’s build on this by adding the plan for sound politics. Remember that we are all the privileged inheritors of Revolution 1.0 in ‘76. Stop labeling ourselves and others and think. Look for the common goals. Look for the facts that pertain to those goals, and apply non agenda-based reasoning to those facts to achieve those common goals. I will repeat my offer to give $100 in cash for every issue, no matter how controversial, where we cannot come up with an overall common goal. Love. Nothing else matters without that.
All of the above is simple and easy to understand. And very little of it is at all easy to accomplish. And every bit is worth it. That’s the subject of today’s 10-minute podcast.
It all starts with gratitude. Gratitude is the bedrock, the touchstone–cornerstone–for any effective philosophy, religious dogma or simply a way to get through life or the day. Without gratitude, there is an inescapable emptiness; not a yearning, but a feeling of being ungrounded. This makes for a fertile ground for resentful thoughts of unfairness or “Why me? Or worse, comparing yourself to others.
Add the Moral Compass. Some people call it your True North.
No matter; the questions are:
If you don’t have a solid Moral Compass that you follow, then again nothing else matters. Nothing. You will simply be a cork on the ocean of life, following the changing paths of the tides, currents and waves. I know; I have been there. And I still have to fight to stay with and strengthen my adherence to my True North.
“I’m not unmindful of man’s seeming need for faith; I’m for anything that gets you through the night, be it prayer, tranquilizers, or a bottle of Jack Daniel’s.” -Frank Sinatra. So, what gets you through the night? And is that the same as a True North? Finding and following your True North will get you through the day and night in far better shape than pills and booze. And will set you up for continuing, healthy success.
What are some examples of an effective Moral Compass? And how do you know? Two things: 1. Your North has to be something outside of you–with externally inspired values, goals and checkpoints. A compass works because no matter which way you look or turn, it always points to an externally fixed location. The danger is that our own internally generated principles may lull us into a false sense of commitment. There must be an outside entity to learn from, and to act as a touchstone–a place to check in to see how we are handling ourselves. This does not mean that you don’t need to internalize the external teachings and examples; all is certainly lost if you don’t. But it is equally certain that it cannot be just you. 2. That outside entity must be powerful enough to keep you on track even when it is hard. If your North’s power and influence in your life is weak, so will be your adherence to it.
Okay, back to simple but hard, easy to understand, but difficult to do. People know what to do even in difficult situations. The reason they don’t is not lack of knowledge, but lack of sufficient motivation to do the hard tasks that likely lie in front of them. A friend, the most long-term successful health and life coach I know, provides a great example. When I approached Don about losing weight, he asked two questions. The first was, “Will, if you are at McDonald’s, which is the better choice, a Big Mac with fries and a Coke, or a salad?” “Well, the salad, of course.” “Okay”, Don, continued, “If you work in a 5-story building, is it better to take the stairs or the elevator?” “C’mon, Don, the stairs. That’s basic.” “Then why don’t you do those things, Will?” We all know what to do. We pretend that we really don’t to give ourselves an excuse not to do the necessary hard work to get through whatever is in front of us. And I believe that we all know the deep joy, the intense satisfaction that comes from overcoming obstacles and just getting things done in life. Life is simple. Life is hard. Life is well worth it.
We’ll get to personal responsibility in a moment. For now, let’s switch to the formula for sound politics.
I describe myself as a man seeking common goals. (How’s that for a political party name?) I am registered as Unaffiliated in Colorado; there are more of those than either Republicans or Democrats here. Don’t most of us share the same common, bedrock goals? I don’t mean desires that many share like wanting this party or this candidate to win (or the other party or person to lose), I mean the core, meaningful, underlying goals that most of us share. Pick an important, controversial issue and find the common ground (yes, it exists), add applicable facts (courts call facts like this evidence), then apply non agenda-based reasoning. It works. And if the discussion falls off track, go back to the common goals–the touchstone–to get back on track. Back to bedrock.
Let’s look at an example common goal–this one from the controversial area of declining K-12 education results in public schools. Goal: “Having the best pre-K thru 12 education with the most efficient use of taxpayer dollars.” Note, this does not presuppose one and only one way to get there. A good starting approach to achieve this goal might be to allow free access to fully funded traditional public schools, charter schools and private schools via vouchers. Allow parents to make the right decision for their children, and allow competition to deliver the best product for the kids, parents and society.
Now to personal responsibility. The core, driving principles at Revolution 2.0, are:
And do it all in love; without love, these are empty gestures, destined to go nowhere and mean nothing.
If we apply those two core principles, personal responsibility and brother’s keepers, simultaneously, never only one or the other, we will always be on the right path. Depending upon what we face, one principle or the other may appropriately be given more emphasis, but they are always acted upon together.
The Founders, Revolution 1.0, were declared traitors by the British Crown, and their lives were forfeit if caught. We risk very little by stepping up and participating in Revolution 2.0™. In fact, we risk our futures if we don’t. I am inviting you, recruiting you, to join Revolution 2.0™ today. Join with me in using what we know how to do–what we know we must do–to everyone’s advantage. Let’s practice thinking well of others as we seek common goals, research the facts that apply to those goals, and use non agenda-based reasoning to achieve those goals together. Practice personal responsibility and be your brother’s keeper.
Let’s continue to build on the revolutionary vision that we inherited. Read the blog, listen to the podcast, subscribe, recruit, act. Here’s what I mean by “acting.”
Revolution 1.0 in 1776 was built by people talking to other people, agreeing and disagreeing, but always finding ways to stay united and go forward. Revolution 2.0 will be built the same way.
Join me. Join the others. Think about what we are talking about and share these thoughts and principles with others. Subscribe, encourage others to subscribe. Act. Let’s grow this together.
And visit the store. Fun stuff, including hats, mugs and t-shirts. Recommend other items that you’d like to see.
Links and References
Life Is Hard–As It Should Be (EP. 106)
As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the blog with comments or questions about this podcast or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. And you can subscribe to the podcast on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google, or Stitcher.
Now it is time for our usual parting thought. It is not enough to be informed. It is not enough to be a well informed voter. We need to act. And if we, you and I, don’t do something, then the others who are doing something, will continue to run the show.
Know your stuff, then act on it. Knowing your stuff without acting is empty; acting without knowing is dangerous.
Will Luden, writing to you from my home office at 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.